EGBA: Multi-licensing momentum is ‘undeniable’ in European gaming

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Research from the European Gaming and Betting Association has indicated that gambling markets across Europe favour the full multi-licensing approach for online gambling more than any other model.

In response to the analysis, the Brussels-based trade association’s Secretary General, Maarten Haijer, stated that full multi-licensing momentum “is undeniable” and that the approach is the “best pathway” and should be embraced as the “optimal form of online regulation”.

EGBA research discovered that 27 out of 31 European countries now utilise some variation of multi-licensing for online gambling, whereas 15 years ago, most countries either didn’t have dedicated online gambling regulations or were operating under exclusive rights models where only state-owned entities had an online gambling monopoly.

The multi-licensing model allows multiple companies to offer online gambling services within a country, so long as they are compliant with strict regulatory obligations.

In 2009, only seven countries – Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Malta and the UK –  had a multi-licensing model for online gambling.

The trade association has found that of those 27 countries with the multi-licensing model, 23 have a full multi-licensing model for all regulated online gambling products.

Haijer noted: “The momentum towards full multi-licensing for online gambling in Europe is undeniable. While a few exceptions still exist, governments are concluding that public policy objectives, particularly related to consumer protection and tax generation, are more effectively met through well-regulated online competition.”

The EGBA stated that four countries currently do not have any form of multi-licensing. Finland, Iceland and Norway maintain exclusive rights models with state-owned entity monopolies, while Luxembourg lacks dedicated regulations for online gambling.

However, Finland is currently undergoing legislative reforms and a multi-licensing framework for online gambling is expected to be established in the country by 2026.

“Finland’s current transition towards multi-licensing signals the impending end of the last online gambling monopoly in the EU, marking a significant regulatory milestone,” added Haijer.

“Similar deliberations regarding the future of the online monopoly are inevitable in Norway and Iceland. Furthermore, the handful of countries with either partial monopolies or product prohibitions should strive for greater consistency and effectiveness in their policies by phasing these out.”

Elsewhere, the EGBA said that four countries have a mixed model with partial multi-licensing. Online sports betting monopolies exist in Slovenia and Switzerland, while online casino gaming and poker monopolies are present in Austria and Poland, with multi-licensing for all other online gambling products.

Product-specific prohibitions exist in Cyprus (casino gaming and poker) and France (casino gaming) as well, but both countries have multi-licensing in place for all other regulated online gambling.

Haijer concluded: “With over 15 years of regulatory experience in Europe, it’s clear that full multi-licensing offers the best pathway to enhance consumer protection, increase tax revenues and ensure stronger regulatory control. The time has come for the last remaining European countries to embrace this optimal form of online regulation.”